Illinois confirms second case of Coronavirus

Devon Greene, editor-in-chief

Illinois has confirmed its second case of the Coronavirus, a virus that has killed more than 170 in China.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH, Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Cook County Department of Public Health, along with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that a man in his 60s contracted the virus after he caught the virus from his wife after she took trip to China. Her trip consisted of a visit Wuhan, China and returned on Jan. 13. Upon returning to the United States, she was hospitalized. The Chicago-based couple are both hospitalized at the moment and remain in stable condition.

According to the World Health Organization, roughly 99 percent of new cases of the Coronavirus have appeared in China, but 16 countries across the world have confirmed cases. Of those countries, Thailand has the most recorded cases with 14, they are followed by Japan with 11, Singapore with 10, Malaysia and Taiwan with eight, Australia with seven, South Korea and the United States with six, Vietnam and France with five, Germany and the United Arab Emirates with four, Canada with three and India, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Finland with one.

According to the CDPH, this is the first person-to-person transmission in the United States and it is unclear how the virus spreads from one person to the next. Yet, according to Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the CDPH, person-to-person contact is the most likely way for the virus to spread.

“We know coronaviruses are most likely to spread through close personal contact, and we know this second patient had close contact with his wife after she began to develop symptoms, so it’s not totally unexpected that he acquired the virus,” Arwady said. “This is exactly why public health has been monitoring him closely, and why we monitor any close contacts of confirmed cases. This does not change our guidance that the risk to the general public remains low at this time. People in the community do not need to change their behavior based on this news; for example, they don’t need to cancel events, avoid mass gatherings, or wear gloves and masks in public.”

At the moment, IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says that the risk of contracting the disease in the state of Illinois is still relatively nonexistent.

“I want to emphasize that the risk of this novel coronavirus to the general public in Illinois remains low. Local, state and federal health officials are working to identify those who have had close contact with the individual Iinorder to take protective measures to minimize further spread of the virus,” Ezike said. “We will continue to keep the public fully informed as additional information becomes available.”

As for containing the possible outbreak due to the victims, officials from health agencies are investigating any locations where he may have visited or any individuals he may have made contact with over the last two weeks and a team from the CDC has been deployed to Illinois to help in the investigation.

According to the CDC, of the six confirmed cases in the country two have come from California, one from Arizona, one from Washington and two from Illinois but the CDPH has also said that there has been no information to support the virus spreading widely across the United States, so citizens do not need to take any additional precautions.

The CDPH did release a list of things to do in order to help prevent any viruses, including the flu. The list includes, washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay home when you are sick, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.